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Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD – A painted handicap-parking space shows the texture of pervious concrete Thursday, June 9, 2016, at the Xavier Convocation Center in New Orleans.

Both my wife and I have handicap parking permits. The problem is that it is getting more and more difficult to find a handicap parking place at many locations. The main reason is that too many people use handicap parking decals to park in handicap parking spaces that do not belong to them but to someone else. I recently made an observation at one of the big box stores of people using the decals that did not appear to be the one it was assigned to and concluded that it applied at least half of those I observed. In my opinion, they are misused so often that the blue hanging decals have become a black market item and are being stolen and sold. I have had mine stolen twice.

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I would propose a twofold solution. First, an enforcement effort to target certain areas like big box stores and require offenders to produce the handicap picture id. Ticket the offenders and promote the enforcement program in local media. Secondly, after a period when the first effort has been implemented, require any person parked in a handicap parking space to display the handicap picture ID on the dash if the decal is used. As I understand it, the law now is that the decal is not valid without the picture ID. It's just not being enforced.

Hopefully, some enforcement will allow legitimate permit holders to find an available handicap parking space.

Ernest A. Gremillion

retired

Baton Rouge